Startup fairytale — ‘Why Earth is a startup and God CEO’
Meet God. A gifted planetpreneur with a mission: disrupting the planet industry.
For billions of years the planet industry has been the same. Creating them was done by molding them round, splashing some color to them or setting them on fire. It was getting old. It seemed to God that planets are not being used to their full potential. It was time for a new kind of planet. Time for radical innovation.
The idea? Something playful and inspiring. A garden of Eden. Working title: Earth.
God wasn’t sure yet what Earth should look like exactly, but He would just design the planet as He went. He would start the creation process first thing Monday morning.
While it would normally take billions of years to build up a planet like Earth, the aim was to create a MVP and launch it to market in seven days.
God signed up to be part of an intense, week long planet accelerator. While it would normally take billions of years to build up a planet like Earth, the aim was to create a MVP and launch it to market in seven days.
Day one. Monday, 6am. Not God’s favorite time to get up. But hey, after a bulletproof coffee everyone is ready to go. His canvas for Earth was a completely black planet. Time to lighten things up. God started typing: <separate> light and darkness </s>. Day and night were created. Enough work for one day.
It would go like this for four days. Every day God would be typing and shaping Earth as He went. Creating oceans, dry land, making the moon and the stars visible, having creatures appear on land and in the water. God was on a roll!
It was on day six that God got Earth’s first two early adopters. Adam and Eve. A couple that would walk around targeting low hanging fruit and use their Apple to gain knowledge about Earth and about what’s right or wrong.
It was on day six that God got Earth’s first two early adopters. Adam and Eve.
After an intense day of bringing in more folks, God realized how tired He was. He had pulled it off. He created Earth in seven days! Or actually six. God decided that six days of work were enough. Sundays were for beer and pizza — even talented planetpreneurs need time to chill.
After a day of limitless triple cheese pizza’s and a couple to many beers, there was demo day. A universe full of VC’s to pitch to. God created a fierce deck and was able to inspire a handful of investors. After presenting his term sheet during coffee meetings, He was able to onboard three angels and sign binding contracts. With this new group of people they determined Earth’s strategy.
Earth was a life-as-a-service startup. God used referral marketing to grow its user base, with Adam and Eve as the influencers. They, and every other new human being, would automatically sign up for usage of Earth. Subscriptions would go for 0–120 years and received the catchy name ‘lives’.
Earth was a life-as-a-service startup. Subscriptions would go for 0–120 years and received the catchy name ‘lives’.
At this stage, ‘lives’ were free of economical charge and were gained through sweat equity. All members became shareholders. The value proposition? ‘An un-heavenly experience in paradise’.
USPs of Earth were autonomic growth and circular ecosystems. The plan was to monetize on these elements in the future, but like with every true startup, the business model of Earth was not clear just yet and had yet to be determined.
Sexy growth hacking
In the first quarter (everything from B.C. up until the year 1800) Earth quickly grew its user base through growth hacking. God had created an experimental tool for user expansion. Sex. After thoughtful analysis this turned out to be the ultimate way for scaling up quickly.
Earth quickly grew its user base through growth hacking. God had created an experimental tool for user expansion. Sex.
Humans seemed to adopt this tool without any hesitations, and especially after a marketing campaign by award winning agency Church to ‘always use this tool for the purpose of recreation’, the number of live subscriptions exploded.
When in 1800, Earth already counted one billion subscribers, and the forecast for coming years was absolutely mind-blowing. Expected was that user base would grow to two billion in 1927, four billion in 1974, six billion in 1999, and the earthshaking number of 10 billion users in 2100.
God had expected Earth to become a succes, but already having one billion users at this early stage was a surprise even for Him. He began to wonder: would pleasure and fun increase evenly with the number of users? How many billion users would be the maximum for Earth? And how the heck would He monetize his planet?
Will God’s bleeding edge planet technology benefit Earth and can He monetize its first-mover advantage?
User forecasts turned out to be spot on for the first half of this quarter. The number of ‘life’ subscriptions was skyrocketing — a hockeystick to the stars. When hitting 2011, the database counted seven billion users, subscriptions were being signed at an exponential rate.
Thanks to Earth’s ‘raw materials’, amazing building bricks for new features, users found ways to create new tools to boost the pleasure level of their subscriptions.
Unfortunately though, there was something going unnoticed, threatening the future of startup Earth. For one, some of Earth’s users started prohibiting others access to its infrastructure and ingredients. Which resulted in a relatively small group of subscribers creating new opportunities in their favor, and putting others on a strict ramen noodle diet.
Circular ecosystems were getting crushed and turned into pretty much straight left-to-right lines, putting Earth’s USP’s in serious jeopardy.
Also, extraction of raw materials was going quicker than they could recover. Circular ecosystems were getting crushed and turned into pretty much straight left-to-right lines, putting Earth’s USP’s in serious jeopardy.
Most important, this change in Earth’s systems had a negative impact on users. Because of the new linear systems and a growing inequality between users, subscriptions were starting to drop.
Initial life subscriptions were still growing, thanks to a smooth sales team, but customer care and UX designers were failing miserably.
Initial life subscriptions were still growing, thanks to a smooth sales team, but customer care and UX designers were failing miserably. As a result, users were quitting their contracts after only a couple of years in the game. And forecasts were that this number of dropouts would take on in the decades to come.
On top of this all, the loss of subscription quality was already an upcoming trend. Some of Earth’s specialties — that made angels throw in bags of planet investment in the first place — were no longer a given fact. Delivery of clean air to breath, fresh water to drink, nutritious food to eat, green fields and forests to wander (the stuff users specifically signed up for) was getting more complicated by each year.
A week in Paris
It took time and several user groups to go on strike before management started to take this downfall seriously. But once it hit them, they started to worry sick. They didn’t even have time to monetize their investments yet, and now it looked like all effort was going down the drain! Investors were not happy and started to phone in and step by more often.
The team called for an emergency meeting at the end of book year 2015, in a user hub called Paris. They booked in all week to redefine their strategy and to change course from upcoming bankruptcy to potential Universopoly.
What could possibly be the pivot Earth was in such a desperate need of? Would it come in time and offer proper ROI’s for investors?
After the first nights of brainstorming, the management team already came up with a solution to tackle the problem. A planet B. Earth Extra.
Venus seemed like a solid option. It was for sale at an interesting rate and it was big enough to transfer at least half of the users to, taking off the pressure of Earth’s resources. Transforming Venus would be quite a bit of work, but hey, God had pulled it off before!
Only one problem though: time. The transfer had to happen rather yesterday than tomorrow. So they went in for quick prototyping and started up the testing process.
Small groups of beta users were temporarily transferred to the new location for research purposes. The outcome was straightforward. Users thought Venus sucked. And they were in no mood to stay transferred during its transition period. So far for option Planet B.
The outcome was straightforward. Users thought Venus sucked.
With just a couple of days in Paris left, the team dived back into problem solving mood. Apparently they had to look for rapid changes within their own systems. They agreed on the starting point: radical inclusion of all users and circular systems. But how to shape this into a solution?
It was on the last day of the gathering in Paris that God presented his pivot plan. A change in business strategy, supported by 195 people — representatives of all Earths user groups. Radical inclusion of all users and closed circular systems were the main pillars of this new course. The goal was to make Earth more than ramen profitable for all shareholders while creating abundance for its users.
A good thing that talented planet programmers were lining up to get the job done, eager as they were to get involved in this ambitious project. Heaps of programming needed to be done on short notice and many extra hands were needed. God was taking on more of a project management role this time, as coding changed quite dramatically since he initially created Earth.
The goal was to make Earth more than ramen profitable for all shareholders while creating abundance for its users.
Two days after the meeting in Paris the team started working full speed. One of the first things that got taken care of was kicking vaporware off the market, so that only true added value would get created. And for all subscribers. Corruptive bugs were removed from the system and the peers network got well and widely spread again.
In order to create this added value, resources were needed. Many of the raw materials acquired were already in the circle of stuff. The only thing needed was to close the loops, now that all raw materials would stay in the ground. Each linear system got turned into a circular equivalent. Waste was now food and old became new again. And all this value got created with energy from renewable sources. Other energy was no longer an option.
Since there were so many users who were interested in the same tools, the sharing earthology got implemented. A system of sharing in which access to usage is valued over ownership. It turned out that the internet, an earlier invention, was perfect for facilitating this sharing of resources. Everyone could see whenever which tool would be available and book it straight away.
This same internet got pushed to an ever higher level with the introduction of the Internet of (Energy) Things. All tools could now communicate with each other to enable smarter decision making. Windows were talking to central heating systems for advanced climate control by increasing and decreasing the produced heat in balance with the in- and decreasing levels of solar warmth. Gardens were telling their owners when to water their plants and vehicles were finding parking spaces on their own.
All the adjusted settings of Earth’s unique selling points got programmed back to their original settings. Soil got repaired, oceans cleaned, and CO2 stored.
And to finish the pivot job, very important, all the adjusted settings of Earth’s unique selling points got programmed back to their original settings. Soil got repaired, oceans cleaned, and CO2 stored: recreating the conditions that attracted so many different kinds of users in the first place.
It almost sounded to good to be true, but these relatively simple changes made a massive impact on the health of Earth’s systems and boosted the Earth User Experience rating to five stars. Resources were widely available again for everyone involved.
‘A big exit’ was becoming a very real possibility. Being after one of these was a typical thing for planetpreneurs, and usually a hot topic of conversation during meetups. A big exit would mean selling off the planet to a God of another, bigger, planet or Universe for a full bag of cash. Other possibilities were scaling up to other planets or tapping into a new Universe and trying to build up a bigger planet business before eventually selling it off.
God, being the idealist as he is, decided to go for the option of developing other planets and, eventually, universes. Although the Venus project had shown that simply transferring proven practice was not very successful — learning from failure — God believed that there would be incredible planet opportunities out there yet to be discovered. Planets waiting to be taken into Gods portfolio and turned into proper Garden’s of Eden, with its shareholders living in abundance in a sustainable manner. Into infinity.